What was the first bubble gum made and sold?
While gum itself is likely thousands of years old, having been enjoyed by ancient Europeans, Mayans, and Aztecs, the popular marvel known everywhere as bubble gum didn’t emerge until 1928 – relatively late in history.
To set the stage: it’s the early twentieth century. For nearly forty years, there has been a gum war of epic proportions, with gum manufacturers everywhere striving to conquer the undisputed king of that chewy stuff: the immortal William Wrigley Jr., proprietor of Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint (and the Chicago Cubs).
Then one day a new upstart changed everything – his name was Frank Fleer, an underdog Philadelphian who wanted to make his name on the chewing gum market. Fleer had attempted to create a gum that could produce bubbles, Blibber-Blubber, in 1906. However, this Promethean confection was struck by catastrophe; it was too sticky, and when it popped, it stuck to the face
Then, 22 years later, everything changed: Fleer employee Walter Diemer developed a formula for chewing gum that proved an instant success in 1926.
The name of that now-legendary bubble gum that has been blown by fans worldwide? Dubble Bubble.
What was the first bubble gum color?
Much like the other elements of the bubble saga, there’s a some interesting facts behind the orignial Dubble Bubble gum color.
When Diemer invented Dubble Bubble, the Fleer candy factory was not exactly fit to burst with food coloring – after all, there were plenty of candies to create. At the time when Diemer created his first perfected batch of Dubble Bubble, the only food coloring on hand was pink.
As time went on pink became the traditional bubble gum color that was found to be very appealing to almost everyone, adult or child.
What flavor is original bubble gum?
Since Dubble Bubble was the original bubble gum, we still have access to its flavor – which is, well, bubble gum flavor! To understand where the original bubble gum flavor came from, let’s dive back into the dark ages of the pre-bubble gum era.
When the first American chewing gum factory opened, its founder, Thomas Adams, devised two flavors:
- The first was black licorice, the bad boy of the chewing gum world.
- The second, chewing gum’s hero, its ace, was tutti frutti – an Italian phrase whose literal meaning, “all fruits,” says it all. This flavor was meant to taste like the distilled essence of fruit, all fruits and none.
The “tutti frutti” flavor proved to be so popular that it set the tone for chewing gums for years, even influencing bubble gum. This is why Dubble-Bubble, like other gums, has a distinct multi-fruit flavor.
If the marketing specialists at Dubble Bubble are to be believed, you can still taste the gum today. The fact is that many modern bubble gum brands still use a flavoring that’s a mix of fruit flavors and similar to the original Dubble Bubble formula.
Why is most bubble gum pink?
Most bubble gum is pink through the sheer might of Dubble-Bubble’s influence. As I mentioned above, when Diemer invented Dubble Bubble in 1928, he used the only food coloring he had on-hand, pink.
With Dubble-Bubble’s monumental success, it became the norm for bubble gum to be pink – there was the implicit assumption that if Dubble-Bubble did it, it had to be right. It’s also been said that as the gum base used to make the first bubble gum was a less-appealing grey color, he knew he needed a more pleasant color.
Hence mixing the grey gum base with a reddish-pink also gives is a pink hue when combined.
What is gum made of?
In short, chewing gum is made of just a few ingredients:
- The main ingredient is gum base, a synthetic substance that might be made of wax, polyethylene, or rubber.
- It also contains softeners like vegetable oil to make it chewy.
- Flavorings to give it its distinctive taste as well as some sugar or other sweetener.
- A polyol coating which gives gum its unique sheen.
This is a more common list of the basics as it can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and flavor to flavor.
Stick gum like that included in baseball card packs, collectible card packs, or toy packaging may also have some powdered sugar or another dry edible powder coating on the gum stick too.
Specialty flavors such as mint, grape, green apple, and so forth sometimes use additional food coloring to better mimic the fruit’s natural color.